Seán’s art is like no other. Born of great intention, his pieces are defined by bold detail and a timeless narrative. With his intimate knowledge of Irish mythology, he evokes both ancient and familiar emotion from viewers with his imagery, giving faces to many characters of lore in a raw yet whimsical expression of artistry.
Needless to say, Northern Fire is honoured to have an artist of Seán’s calibur join the collective. In this podcast, Sean Parry sits down (Sean to Seán) to discuss their beginnings with Celtic art and their inspiration to create.
While Sean Parry’s childhood in Wales was embellished by the surrounding landscape (The Great Orme) and tales of the Mabinogion, Seán Fitzgerald grew up in Ireland, near to many historical sites steeped in stories of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and other Irish heroes from the mythology.
But the legendary artists of today, such as Jim Fitzpatrick and Courtney Davis have been catalysts for Seán’s work as well, and remain regular inspirations. In fact, Seán’s book The Last Battle of Moytura (which sells out almost instantly upon every release) was coaxed into print through the guidance of Courtney Davis, whose work largely defined contemporary Celtic art for the last 30 years.
Something else you may notice regarding Seán’s work is his incredible ability to balance both a light and dark narrative within his pieces. Within the podcast, he and Sean discuss the shameful art found within the tourist sites of both Ireland and Wales, peppered in pastels and mass produced imagery with little to no historical backing.
Seán often reiterates is the fact that Irish stories are not all one-size-fits all, meaning the way we’ve seen so much of this art mass produced is really only to feature one type of character or theme in a way that doesn’t truly encapsulate the depth of narrative within the literature where we read the mythology.
A print of Seán's incredible depiction of Badb Catha (battle crow), one of the three components of the triple goddess Morrígan. You can read more about her place within Irish mythology on the listing.
An example of the enmeshment of darker mythology in the landscape is an area near Seán’s home, known as Tory Island.
“People love to talk about Lugh, and that’s all light and positive, but both have to exist.”
Within the podcast, Seán gives a brief synopsis, explaining how this island was the area of great battles (some of the first) within Irish mythology. It is a place stained by the dark deeds of a man (Balor) living in contempt of his grandson, who was prophesied to kill him. The grandson, known as Lugh Lámhfhada in this version, was still born and fulfills the prophecy, but not before several places in Ireland become tied into the story. One such feature is a massive crystal stone that may be linked to other historic sites and an affinity for crystal stones by the ancients across Ireland and Britain.
Tory Island from the air, taken by Julianne Forde.
Without giving too much more of the conversation away, we’d like to include Seán’s most recent release, his stag illustration inspired by the Song of Amergin.
This ancient poem, by the druid and poet Amergin Glúngheal, conjures up images of several animals, the ocean’s fury, and most poignantly, a stag with seven antlers (or bull in some translations) which Seán has brought to life in this stunning depiction.